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What to Expect After Hip Replacement Surgery

This information applies to 90 to 95% of patients after Total Hip Arthroplasty.

Day of surgery:

You will be up on your feet the same day of surgery and walking with the help of hospital staff (or the next day, if your surgery is late in the day.) Your hip may be swollen and warm. You will use ice and keep the leg elevated to help with the swelling. It is normal to have some swelling and warmth in the hip for up to eight months. It should, however, decrease gradually over time.

Days one to three:

The hospital staff will help you work on your motion, strength and walking with the help of a walker.

Approximately three days after surgery:

You will be discharged from the hospital. For example: if you have surgery on Monday you will be discharged on Thursday. If your surgery is on Wednesday, you will be discharged Saturday. If your surgery is on Friday, you will be discharged on Monday. You will either go home from the hospital or to a rehabilitation center.

First three weeks:

Continue with physical therapy. The physical therapy may be at a rehab center, in your home, or as outpatient therapy.You must work hard and be diligent about your exercises.

Three weeks after surgery:

First post-op visit in the office. We will check your wound, swelling and motion. You will also have an x-ray this visit. You may begin hip abduction exercises, which we will show you in the office. These exercises involve activities such as stairs and strengthening the outside muscle of your hip to help bring your leg out to the side. By this time, you should be using a single cane.

Six weeks after surgery:

You may return to driving if you are not taking pain pills. Make sure you practice first on a side street or parking lot to make sure that you can drive safely. You may feel safe enough to stop using the cane. You may use some lotion on the scar. You may use whatever kind of lotion that you like. Rub the scar up and down, side to side and in small circles. This will help the scar become less sensitive and help it fade.

Three months after surgery:

You will walk with no cane and will feel your strength increasing and pain decreasing.

Six to eight months after surgery:

Most patients will have reached maximum strength and improvement.

General activities list:

Hiking, biking, walking, golf, doubles tennis, cross-country skiing (with care).